·  USW

USW Questions Romney's Commitment to American Workers

Contact: Tim Waters, USW, 412-999-3587

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 13, 2011 -- United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard today criticized Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for his jobs record and changing his mind on trade with China.

Currently, Romney is saying on the campaign trail that he will get tough with China and impose tariffs on Chinese-made products if they break the rules of international trade.

"That sounds like flip flopping," Gerard said. "Not long ago, he criticized the Administration for imposing tariffs on unfairly priced tires imported from China. It's just one more example of the many conflicting positions Romney has taken on issues from health care to taxes."

Gerard also cited Ampad Corp., an office supply manufacturer that the Romney-headed Bain Capital, drove into bankruptcy. Bain management fired hourly workers at its Marion facility before forcing them out on strike prior to closing the facility. When the company went public, it was saddled with increased debt, leading to more plant closings and employee layoffs. It eventually filed for bankruptcy protection.

While hundreds of workers were left jobless, Romney's Bain Capital walked away from the bankruptcy with more than $100 million in advisory fees, sales of stock and other payments.

"Romney likes to say he has helped to create jobs, but the former workers at the Ampad factory would take issue with that record,'' Gerard said.

President Obama's decision in 2009 to impose tariffs on unfairly traded Chinese tires stemmed the hemorrhaging of American jobs and investment that a flood of unfairly traded Chinese imports caused.

"Because of President Obama's action, investments in U.S. tire manufacturing are up, jobs have been created and our companies are shipping more tires to consumers,'' Gerard said.  When Obama acted, Romney criticized the President's decision to defend American jobs in the tire industry and called the tire tariffs "bad for the nation and our workers."

The USW represents 850,000 members in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. It is the largest private sector union in North America, representing workers in a wide range of industries including metals, mining, rubber, paper and forestry, oil refining, plus office, technical and service workers in health care, security, hotels and municipal governments and agencies.

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